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Nikkei: SoftBank Plans $18 Bln IPO Of Mobile Phone Unit This Year

Japan's SoftBank Group Corp (SFTBF.PK) plans to list its mobile phone unit SoftBank Corp. this year, the Nikkei newspaper reported Monday. The IPO in Tokyo and overseas this year is reportedly expected to bring in about 2 trillion yen, or $18 billion, in one of the largest IPOs ever for a Japanese company.

According to the Nikkei report, SoftBank Group plans to apply on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as spring, so that SoftBank Corp's shares can trade on the bourse's first section around autumn.

The overseas listing at the same time could possibly be in London as SoftBank Group's Vision Fund is based in London. The Vision Fund is SoftBank's $93 billion tech investment vehicle.

SoftBank intends to sell a 30 percent stake in it's subsidiary to investors while retaining a 70 percent stake. The IPO could rival the record 2.2 trillion yen raised by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1987.

In response to the Nikkei report, SoftBank Group said it is always studying various capital strategy options.

"The listing of SoftBank Corp. shares is one such option, but no decision has been made to officially proceed with this course," SoftBank added.

The Nikkei reported that SoftBank Group expanded in Japan with telecommunications as its main business. However, it is now more of an investment company following the acquisition of U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp. (S) in 2013 and UK-based chip designer ARM Holdings plc (ARM.L, ARMH) in 2016, in addition to creating the Vision Fund.

In late December, Uber Technologies Inc.'s shareholders agreed to sell a significant stake in the ride-hailing company to an investor consortium led by SoftBank Group. The deal values Uber at $48 billion.

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